… no one more sincerely prays that no accident may call me to the higher and more important functions which the constitution eventually devolves on this office. These have been justly confided to the eminent character which has preceded me here, whose talents and integrity have been known and revered by me thro’ a long course of years; have been the foundation of a7 cordial and uninterrupted friendship between us; and I devoutly pray he may be long preserved for the government, the happiness, and prosperity of our common country.
Address to the Senate, March 4, 1797
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Servant leaders don’t seek power. It seeks them.
This was the conclusion of Jefferson’s address to the Senate when he was inaugurated as Vice-President. He lauded President Adams’ character and prayed that he would suffer “no accident” and “be long preserved for the government,” because Jefferson didn’t want the Constitutional succession to the Presidency.
There is debate whether Jefferson sought power, or whether power sought him. Jon Meacham, in his 2012 biography, Thomas Jefferson – The Art of Power, asserts that Jefferson actively sought control, not only in the political world but in his personal life. I am more persuaded that political power found Jefferson, rather than the other way around. Once found, he was willing to use it, but it was not his nature to go after it.
Regardless, three and a half years later, Jefferson again stood as the leader of those opposed to the Federalist policies of Hamilton and Adams in the Presidential election of 1800. That time he bested Adams for the job he said he didn’t want.
Jefferson did get an answered prayer for Adams’ good health. Both men lived another 29 years.
“We heard nothing but praise from audience members.”
Policy Director, Washington State Association of Counties
Mr. Jefferson will prove himself praiseworthy with your audience, as well.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739